If you can't beat the heat, join it, right? They say spicy foods help you cool down in hot weather. The fiery seasonings force your body to sweat and reduce its temperature. And if our recent love for spicy foods like Nashville-style hot chicken is any indication, clearly Columbus is clamoring for more heat.

If you can't beat the heat, join it, right? They say spicy foods help you cool down in hot weather. The fiery seasonings force your body to sweat and reduce its temperature. And if our recent love for spicy foods like Nashville-style hot chicken is any indication, clearly Columbus is clamoring for more heat.

Bonus: The Guardian in London just reported on research suggesting those who eat spicy foods regularly enjoy a longer lifespan. So kill two birds with one stone, Columbus: seek out these spicy eats to beat the heat and live long.

Helen's Asian Kitchen

Stir Fried Cauliflower

The stir fried cauliflower at Helen's comes swimming in a pool of hot oil, green onions, garlic, red peppers and Szechuan peppercorns, with a little sterno burner underneath the pan to keep it hot. Not familiar with these peppercorns? They build a spicy front that slowly numbs your mouth. Seriously, you'll find yourself wondering why your face is tingling. It's the peppercorns at work, bringing just as much face-numbing flavor as they do heat.

Fortune Chinese Restaurant

Dan Dan Noodles

Like Helen's, Fortune Chinese serves up dishes rife with Szechuan peppercorns and chili peppers. The simple dan dan noodles are covered with peppercorn flakes and chili oil, offering a pleasant heat that builds as you eat. Fortune features a number of dishes with considerable heat; there's even a simple sautéed beef dish with giant slices of jalapeno that can seriously scorch your palate.

Los Guachos Taqueria

Pickled habaneros

Okay, so Los Guachos tacos and gringas aren't spicy on their own, but they can be dressed up as spicy as you'd like. Their al pastor tacos – recently named #3 in the country by the Food Network – are seriously some of the best in Columbus. If the meat, onion and cilantro don't pack enough punch for you, dip into the bowl of pickled habanero peppers at your table. The heat is impressive, and even a small tongs-full will amp up your taco considerably.

Dirty Frank's Hot Dog Palace

Puff the Magic Popper

With the wide availability of really hot peppers these days, the jalapeno might seem a bit tame. But when it's treated right, it still imparts just the right zing. Dirty Frank's Puff the Magic Popper – initially a specialty but now a menu mainstay – mixes sliced jalapenos, cheddar cream cheese and bacon bits.

Westgate Thai

Anything "Thai hot"

Like most Thai restaurants, Westgate Thai (widely acknowledged as one of the best Thai spots in town) can scale the heat of their food from "adventurous American" to "native Thai." Many Thai restaurants will warn newbies of making dishes too hot; they can easily recommend the proper heat level. But anything from a simple pad Thai to even a cold green papaya Som Tum salad can be easily amped up with the right level of Thai chilis.

Smokehouse Brewing / Barley's Brewing Co.

Gates of Hell Wings

Smokehouse's and Barley's grilled wings are an easy-to-love bar snack to pair with any beer they produce. Because the wings are smoked and grilled, not fried, you get to skip the greasy mess. You can stick to sweet or smoky sauces like the sweet chili or chipotle, but hotheads will want to order the Gates of Hell sauce.

Hot Chicken Takeover

Holy Chicken

Arriving during a fried chicken renaissance in Columbus, HCT has won over fans of heat with their cayenne-rubbed fried chicken. Even the Warm chicken eclipses most standard medium heats. The truly daring skip the cayenne-crusted Hot and go straight to Holy, slathered in a concoction of habanero peppers.

CaJohn's Fiery Foods

El Chupacabra

Catering to their customers' love of heat, CaJohn's keeps pushing the envelope of hot sauces. They're topping out with El Chupacabra. It blends together four of the hottest peppers in the world: scorpion, moruga, bhut jolokia and seven pots.